Chance the Rapper visited West Africa with fellow Chicagoan Vic Mensa earlier this year, which completely changed his outlook on the continent. Connecting with Mensa’s family and other Ghanaians, Chance fell in love with the country and felt freer there than ever before, immersing himself in the rich history and culture. Notably, Ghana was the first sub-Saharan country to oust colonialism, a title it is immensely proud of.
He then visited the country a couple more times, and decided to curate a free concert series and visual arts show so others could experience its bright culture. This summer, Chance and Mensa even brought eight students from Chicago to Ghana to learn more about the continent.
“I felt so free in Ghana. .. and I want others to feel the same way,” Chance told the Associated Press. He and Mensa are hosting the first Black Star Line festival in the country’s capital, Accra, next year. Taking place over an entire week, it will be comprised of events, discussions and a free concert on January 6th, with performances from Chance, Mensa, Erykah Badu, T-Pain, Sarkodie, Tobe Nwigwe, Asakaa Boys and M.anifest.
The festival will be held in the city’s Black Star Square, a monument to the political freedom the country won in 1957. As for the festival’s name, it was inspired by the civil rights leader Marcus Garvey’s Black Star Line, which was established in 1919. Operated by Black people, it helped to connect global tourism and shipping opportunities between America, Africa and the Caribbean.
Through establishing the festival, Chance has explained that he wants to bring Black people from Africa and abroad closer together.
“I think that specifically the story of the founder’s independence is something that all black people should know,” he said “There are no free sub-Saharan African countries until 1957. I think they should know about the revolutionary leaders on the continent and abroad. I think that if we had this connectedness and this interaction, people will actually have a chance to see this.”